In this powerful video essay created in the fall 2014 Mentoring Video Project program, filmmaker Evodie Ngoy explores the disturbing conditions in which our clothing, electronics, and fashion accessories are made. By sharing her own story, Evodie calls on us to spend our money supporting ethical manufacturing around the globe.
Tyson Sanford-Griffin is a young man that loves free running and parkour, activities that involve finding acrobatic ways of moving through urban spaces. However, in this short film, Tyson explains how he often feels unsafe doing his favorite activity in his native city of Baltimore, MD.
Created in the fall of 2013 in Wide Angle Youth Media’s Mentoring Video Project, this film also won “Best Story Promoting a Cause Related to Youth or Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math” in TechSoup’s 2014 Storymakers contest!
Alexandria Hemphill, a Loyola University undergraduate, interned at Wide Angle Youth Media in the summer of 2014 to assist with Communications and our Traveling Photography Workshops. Here, she looks back on her experience.
My first day at Wide Angle Youth Media: I walked down the hall and into the office, a spacious area that bustled with talented teens working at computers. Students and administrators in the room greeted me with a warm welcome. I was blown away by the skills that the kids exhibited and their incredible technique with film. Twitter, Facebook, and the blog-site became second nature to me as I posted every day. At first, events in Baltimore seemed like nothing new to me: I had seen pretty much all of Baltimore, but it was not until my time at Wide Angle that I really began to explore the city. A couple of weeks into the internship, I teamed up with Moira, Meggie, and Emelia, another WAYM intern. The four of us set up tripods, projectors and cameras at the Herring Run Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library. With their cameras in hand, each student was excited to walk around the community to tell their own story through photography. In a local steel mill that we found, metalworkers blazed through thick hunks of steel with powerful lasers almost too bright to capture on camera.
My second workshop was at the Reisterstown Road Branch. My group and I discovered all kinds of interesting places in the plaza. From bakeries where customers spoke Hebrew to colorful nail salons and markets, Reisterstown Road was so visually dynamic. That same day, we all got to experience life on set at a local production company, Blue Rock Productions. When we walked in we were greeted by a sign made just for us that read “Welcome Wide Angle Youth Photography Workshop!”. The studio had filmed plenty of Baltimore heroes in the past including Michael Phelps and Haloti Ngata. A high-tech digital movie camera sat in the middle of the room: we all felt like were in a movie as the camera captured our every move. The kids asked plenty of questions and their enthusiasm was palpable as they explored the set, snapping pictures in front of the large backdrop.
Last but not least was our trip to Govans, a scenic Baltimore neighborhood where we connected with nature through photography. Classically styled houses lined the streets and we all eventually met at a peaceful pond at the end of the block. Students took in the beautiful sights of plants and flowers that we encountered. Just as we had done in previous workshops, we were able to capture the beauty of Baltimore both behind the lens and with our own eyes.
Before I thought I had seen pretty much all there was to see in Baltimore, but photography allows you to take something familiar and turn it into something extraordinary and new. A subject can be more than it appears and to truly appreciate the beauty around you, sometimes you have to look at it through a Wide Angle.
“I did this project out of my love for trees. I hope it encourages you to love them too.” – Carson Murphy, Youth Producer
Ever wonder how green spaces affect our behavior and emotions? In the spring of 2014, the youth producers in the Baltimore Speaks Out! program at Patterson Park Public Charter School set out to discover answers. They researched and documented green spaces and vacant lots in Baltimore and their effect on the community. They also found that green spaces reduce crime. These dedicated youth producers reached out to several community organizations to create their story. Created by Youth Producers: Karolina Cazorla, Gerardo Cervantes, Michael Garcia, Antonio Johnson, Taylor Key, Tayvon Lane, Ryan Lee, Carson Murphy, Alexander Ortega, Joy Sanders, Sonta Solomon, Ahniya Thomas, Kelly Zamudio. Assistant Youth Producers: Ni’Jae Collier, Segunda Mayingi, K-Shaud Watkins, Drakhan Webb.
What can YOU do to create more green spaces in Baltimore?
“I made this film because when I didn’t go outside, I was bored. Now I go outside, I feel better and more active with others.” – Taylor Key, Youth Producer
I keep glancing nervously at the clock. 4 hours to go. Now only 3 hours. 2.5. Even as I write this, my eye wanders every now and then to the digital clock in the corner of the computer screen. It is my last day at Wide Angle Youth Media as an intern, hence the dramatic countdown. It might seem like an ordinary day to any other, peace in the office, perhaps the faint sound of typing. But for me, today marks the end of an era (or rather, six weeks). My time here has taught me so much and changed so much about the way I see Baltimore. I’ve made friends and have found mentors.
Before, Baltimore was a mystery to me. I rarely strayed from my little house in the suburbs. Every time I ventured into the city, I was confronted with my own unfounded fears. Wide Angle has exposed me to the true Baltimore culture – students, business, and art – things that give life to the city and help it grow. I feel that now I can finally understand the city. I enter it cautiously, but no longer afraid. Much of this exposure came in the form of special projects. I worked closely with AOL for Monster Help Day, creating a gorgeous gallery space for Wide Angle’s work. I also attended a conference for student athletes where I assisted with a program about combating bullying in schools. Meeting successful students and professionals made me proud to be a Baltimorean.
Other days, I was in the office staring at a computer screen for hours. However, with cushy chairs, Pandora radio, and the smiling faces of the Wide Angle staff, the (occasionally monotonous) work was truly enjoyable. I’ve learned skills instrumental to any future career – writing blog posts, working directly with companies to plan events, emailing organizations, and the ever-important skill of sorting file folders. I even took the plunge into the social media world. My previous engagement was limited to one nearly empty Facebook profile. Now I am the author of several (hopefully) witty Facebook and Twitter posts about Baltimore arts events. I’ve basically become a calendar; ask me about an event, and I can tell you the exact date and time.
The students I’ve met here amaze me. They are some of the nicest and smartest individuals I have ever met. Where in other experiences I have felt like the ‘plague-ridden newbie’, an individual to be avoided for my nerdy habits, these students welcomed me with open arms. (Literally. Constant hugging.) Immediately, I became part of the crew, even with my constant rants about medieval monarchies and my love of calculus.
And now the clock continues to chip away at my remaining minutes. Soon, I will leave this desk and the swivel chair that has become my own and enter the world of college academia. But I will never forget my time here or the people and things I’ve come to know. – Emelia Lehmann
During the 2014 spring semester in the Baltimore Speaks Out! Program at the Herring Run Library branch, youth producers decided to explore violence in their communities and how they can combat it. During our ten week program, students were introduced to the digital camera and learned the basics of photography and video recording. In addition to camera use, youth producers were taught how to use audio recording equipment, 3 point lighting, light painting, story boarding, script writing, and editing. They also learned how to work as a team, allowing them to create one class video, and got hands on experience with event planning and public speaking at our events.
In their Northeast Baltimore neighborhood, students see violence on a daily basis. They wanted to create a short video with a lighthearted tone to show an alternative to violence. As a class, they decided that “use your words, not your fist” was a good message to share with people. They believe violence can be avoided if people talk about their problems first before jumping to actions they may later regret. After weeks of hard work and dedication-from brainstorming ideas to production days in the library- the students’ film was complete. Although this is a video created by young people, we believe this is a message that can be shared with people of all ages!
Every year, Wide Angle Youth Media hosts a high school Closing Ceremony. This celebration marks the end of another incredible year working with Baltimore youth – and this year was exceptional! The Mentoring Video Project students used digital storytelling to produce films about Baltimore issues, one about youth homelessness and another about suspension policy discrepancies. The Attendance and Design Team created videos for the MTA, completed an activity book for young children, and more! On Thursday, Wide Angle will host a closing ceremony like no other! This awesome pot-luck and showcase is open to the public, so stop by and feel free bring some food too! The event will be in Conference Room 2 at Millers Court on Thursday, May 22, between 5 and 7 pm. We encourage you to come meet these talented artists! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call (443) 759-6700.
I had no idea what to expect when I came to my first Youth Photography Curatorial Committee meeting at Wide Angle Youth Media. I had spent the car ride trying to think of everything I knew about photography, afraid that I would be clueless when it came to technical training and media production. What is it called when a picture is over-exposed? Palms sweating, I found my way to the Wide Angle offices and was startled by the scene there. Lounging around computers was a group of other students. They smiled and pulled up a chair for me and I forgot about my fear of not fitting in.
We each introduced ourselves and shared what we hoped to achieve at Wide Angle. I explained that I hoped to learn more about Baltimore. While I lived in Baltimore City, I had never explored it. My understanding and knowledge was embarrassingly limited. To my surprise, other students agreed with me. They said they also felt out-of-touch with Baltimore, caught up in stereotypes and hardly ever traversing the streets of the city we all called home. We had a lot to learn.
I was familiar with the Baltimore stereotypes. I was presented with a view of Baltimore as dangerous and the youth as delinquents, perpetrators of mischief. Though I had never had reason to believe these notions, I’d also never had reason not to. However, my time with the committee completely changed my views. I was presented with pictures of children studying, children playing, children having fun. At times I came across photos that portrayed sadder instances – children looking out windows, children alone. Yet nowhere was there any indication of violence, of drugs, of anything Baltimore youth are associated with. Yes, some of the children in these images knew suffering. But each image spoke of resilience, a desire to escape that world and make a new one for themselves. There was a drive and a determination in the photos that I had never seen before.
These were more than just images. Even within the tiny computer lab at Wide Angle, these images provoked conversation and friendly debate amid the committee members. We discussed the thoughts they raised, the issues they portrayed, and the emotions they activated within us. Our job was to explore the power of each photo and find a way to intensify it so that the message could be clearer and more impactful than ever.
We did this by curating a show – The Youth Traveling Photograph Exhibit – sorting images into categories to be displayed and spark conversation. We grouped photos which made us think of change, race, and emotion. We matched groups with statistics or statements from the photographers. We wanted to connect numerous messages, to create something larger than the original photo. A storyline, a series, different experiences that share a common theme and incorporate the same tool – photography.
I’m now working as an intern with Wide Angle, helping to publicize their events. So far it has been my experience with the committee that helped me truly understand Baltimore the most. I have a new, positive understanding of Baltimore youth and, through my work at Wide Angle, I hope that I am able to share this view with the Baltimore community. We are more than a statistic, a stereotype, or even a picture captured by the flash of a camera. But if we can look at those things together, maybe we can create a new, improved image of Baltimore’s young people.
I hope these images will be as inspirational to you as they are to me. On display throughout the month of May at Golden West Cafe, these pictures will also travel throughout Baltimore City this spring and summer. You can join us at our Exhibit Closing on May 28 from 5-7 pm to learn more. I hope to see you there!
Emelia Lehmann is a member of the Youth Photography Traveling Exhibit Curatorial Committee, and a senior student intern from The Park School.
Wide Angle Youth Media invites you to join us for On The Set, a fundraiser and art auction offering a behind-the-scenes experience and conversations with industry experts from award-winning TV, film and radio productions.
Come rub elbows with some of the industry’s top producers, directors and other behind-the-scenes professionals who make TV, film and radio productions possible. And support the future of this fascinating industry – Wide Angle Youth Media youth Producers!
Our host Aaron Henkin, co-creator and producer of “The Signal” on WYPR, and featured speaker Mario Armstrong, national TV/radio host and digital technology expert, will join other industry VIPs, including:
- Jessica Baroody, Props
- Richard Chisolm, Cinematographer
- Ramona Diaz, Filmmaker
- Jessica Desvarieux, Host and Producer
- Ann Hornaday, Film Critic
- Sheena Jones, Associate Producer
- Nina Noble, Executive Producer
- Nick Noble, SFX Makeup
- Jason Noble, Grip Assistant
- Matt Porterfield, Director
- Stewart Stack, Serious Grip & Electric
- Marc Steiner, Radio Host
- Errol Webber, Filmmaker
- Debi Young, Makeup Artist
- Bill Zorzi, Screenwriter
On the Set will be held on Thursday, April 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Real News Network, 235 Holliday St., Baltimore, Md., 21202. Tickets are $60 and include food and drinks.
Youth producers in the Baltimore Speaks Out! Program at Patterson Park Public Charter School researched and discovered that violence kills over 1.5 million people a year worldwide (World Health Organization). They also discovered that 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and only intervene 4% of the time (DoSomething.org).
After discussing problems of violence and bullying in their own communities, they decided to create poems and take pictures that express their concerns. Students in this workshop learned all parts of the production process by researching their topic, writing self reflections, taking pictures in their community, recording audio and video, and presenting their work to their peers. What are some actions you can take to prevent bullying and violence in your own community?